Scientific name: Stapelia gigantea
Common names: Giant Starfish Plant, Giant Starfish Flowers, Giant Carrion Flowers.
Natural habitat: Stapelia gigantea is native to the deserts of South Africa, thriving in hot, arid environments with well-draining soil.
Flowers: Stapelia gigantea features impressively large flowers that can span up to 10 inches (25 centimeters) across. The blooms boast a rich, mottled burgundy and cream color with a unique texture that resembles wrinkled skin.
Stems: This succulent has thick, green stems that can grow up to 8 inches (20 centimeters) tall, with a cactus-like appearance. The stems are relatively sparse, allowing the dramatic flowers to take center stage when in bloom.
Stapelia gigantea is a fascinating and unusual plant that is perfect for adding an exotic touch to any indoor plant collection. Its large, star-shaped flowers are not only stunning in size but also feature an intricate network of lines that captivate and draw in the viewer. This easy-to-care-for plant is an excellent conversation starter and a delightful choice for anyone interested in expanding their succulent collection.
General Care for Stapeliads
Stapeliads are a unique group of succulent plants known for their striking flowers and interesting forms. They belong to the Apocynaceae family and are mostly native to Africa, with some species found in Asia and the Middle East. Here’s a general guide to caring for Stapeliads:
- Lighting: Stapeliads thrive in bright, indirect light. Direct sunlight can be harmful, especially during the hottest parts of the day. A partially shaded spot is ideal.
- Watering: These plants require moderate watering. Allow the soil to completely dry out between waterings. Over-watering can lead to root rot, so it’s essential to ensure good drainage.
- Soil: Use a well-draining cactus or succulent mix. Stapeliads prefer a soil mix that allows for good air circulation around the roots.
- Temperature: Most Stapeliads prefer warm temperatures and are not tolerant of frost. Keep them in temperatures above 6-8°C (43-46°F).
- Humidity: Stapeliads generally do well in average room humidity. However, during the growing season, a slight increase in humidity can promote healthier growth.
- Fertilization: Feed sparingly during the growing season. Use a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer at half strength.
- Propagation: Propagation can be done through stem cuttings or seeds. Allow cuttings to dry before planting.
- Pests and Diseases: Watch out for pests like mealybugs and take precautions against snails and slugs. Stapeliads are generally resistant to diseases if well taken care of.
Specification: Stapelia gigantea